10 Amazing Health Benefits of Turmeric & Curcumin
Turmeric is a plant in the ginger family, commonly used as a spice in Asian food. It’s the main spice in curry and what gives the dish its distinctive, yellow-orange color. On top of that, turmeric is sold as a supplement and has grown popular in recent years.
Why is turmeric gaining buzz? Thanks to its active ingredient curcumin — a powerful antioxidant — turmeric has numerous health benefits. Here are 10 amazing health benefits of turmeric and curcumin.
Turmeric helps prevent heart disease
Heart disease is the biggest cause of death around the world. One way to protect the heart is to protect the veins leading into the heart and the arteries carrying blood to the rest of your body. Turmeric is a healthy way to keep your system running by preventing clots and buildup in the arteries.
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Turmeric improves liver function
Taking turmeric or using it nutritionally on a regular basis can help your liver function better. The liver is the body’s main cleanser, separating out toxins and unhealthy things we eat and drink on a daily basis. So if your liver works better, so do you.
Turmeric helps increase longevity
Inflammation and oxidation are the reasons your body ages faster; your cells are less able to retain their optimal ability and tend to break down easier. So taking turmeric regularly prevents a lot of oxidation and the resulting inflammation, keeping your cells healthier and able to retain their strength. The healthier your cells are, the longer you can delay degeneration and aging.
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Turmeric gives you healthy skin
The cells in your body are always changing. They copy themselves and replace themselves regularly. This includes your skin, and because of the antioxidant properties of turmeric, healthy skin is a benefit. You can either have it as part of your diet or you can use it on your skin directly, to clear up acne and make your skin smooth and soft.
Turmeric helps treat minor wounds
Speaking of using turmeric on your skin, you can also use it as a natural treatment for minor cuts and scrapes. The curcumin in turmeric is not only an antioxidant, but also has antimicrobial properties. Using it on a minor wound can promote faster healing and reduce risk of infection.
Simply mix 1–2 teaspoons of ground turmeric with just enough water to make a thick paste. Apply the paste to the wound and cover with an adhesive bandage. Keep the bandage on for 12–24 hours. Then reapply with a fresh turmeric paste and bandage. Repeat the process for three days.
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Turmeric aids digestion
This spice has been used as a digestive aid for hundreds of years. Just a little bit with water can ease bloating and gas, and can relieve constipation. If being regular is important to you, turmeric is a great natural way to achieve it.
Turmeric helps treat arthritis
Many studies have been done, or are being made, to document the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin. This is particularly important for people suffering from arthritis, as many of the current drugs and treatments have terrible side effects and not enough benefit.
Curcumin, the main active ingredient of turmeric, is used as a natural alternative to prescription arthritis medications. While it has been shown to have a good effect on easing inflammation, more studies need to be conducted.
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Turmeric may reduce the risk of cancer
We mentioned above about how your cells grow, reproduce, and change throughout your body. But every now and then some of the cells go rogue, and may develop into cancer cells.
That’s a simplistic description, but turmeric’s ability to contain free radicals and prevent oxidation of cells means that it can keep some of those cells from going off-program and becoming cancerous. This doesn’t mean turmeric cures cancer, but it can help stop some cancers from developing. Again, more research into its efficacy is needed.
Turmeric helps improve brain function
Our brains have a substance called BDNF, which stands for brain-derived neurotropic factor. It’s a growth hormone that promotes good brain activity and health. Low levels of BDNF have been linked to brain deterioration, which can lead to developing Alzheimer’s or other syndromes.
Once again turmeric can come to the rescue, as curcumin encourages your brain to produce more BDNF. So a little turmeric in your diet can keep your brain healthier as the years go on.
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Turmeric helps fight depression
Finally, the same growth hormone BDNF helps control your mental state, so low levels of BDNF can lead to depression. This doesn’t mean it causes all depression, but low BDNF can be treated with curcumin and thus reduce the chemical imbalance that can lead to depression.
One study compared the effects of curcumin to that of the antidepressant Prozac. People who took curcumin fared almost as well as those who took Prozac. Meanwhile, those who took both curcumin and Prozac fared the best. So there’s one more reason why turmeric should become part of your daily routine.